This Wednesday, Middle School and Senior School band students showed off their talents at the much-anticipated cross-campus Spring Band Concert.
The Brass Ensembles opened the concert with the stirring Welsh classic “Men of Harlech,” which Senior School band director Mr. John Reid dedicated to Mr. Cliff Yorath, who is retiring after 32 years at SMUS.
All three of the Middle School bands – the First-Year Concert Band and the Grade 7 and Grade 8 Concert Bands – turned in strong performances under the direction of Ms. Pamela Gerrits, who has done a spectacular job this year filling in for Mr. Ian Farish, who returns in September. The Grade 7 performance of “Jupiter” from Holst’s The Planets was a particular audience favourite.
The Senior Concert band played the heroic theme from Titanic, and while Mr. Reid joked that they couldn’t get Celine Dion in to sing, the audience still enjoyed Gillian Harper’s wistful flute solo.
For the grand finale of the concert, all 252 band students in Grades 7 through 12 assembled on stage to perform a version of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” that had been specially arranged by Mr. Reid to allow every student to participate. “It was amazing to see,” says concert-goer Peter Gardiner. “When you consider that we also have orchestras and choirs, the sheer number of students participating in music at this school is phenomenal.”
Zach Chan opened the song with a marching beat on the snare drum. Grade 7 student Chris Fenje played an excellent trumpet solo that led up to a powerful vocal delivery by Grade 10 student Andy Erasmus. “The hairs on the back of my neck stood up,” says Mr. Gardiner, “it was magnificent – and you could feel that people around you were having the same experience.”